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AV Rant #509: LeStupid

October 28th, 2016 No comments

PrintFresh off of last week’s incredible donor turnout, our Listeners of the Week are Brad, and Ted M., who made good on his pledge with an amazingly generous $200 donation! We also thank Mark H. for telling SVS his Prime Bookshelf speaker purchase was because of AV Rant. And Bobby K. in Canada for mentioning us to Gibby’s Electronic Supermarket. Thank you, all!

In the news, LeEco announced a ton of “Le” products and “Le” services. We focus on their LeEco Super4 and uMAX UHD HDR TVs, which do seem like excellent values. Vudu Movies On Us will offer streaming movies for free with ads. AT&T is buying Time Warner for $85.4 billion. And Nintendo Switch is a home console/portable hybrid with detachable controllers that will launch in March 2017.

Ken M. has a problem keeping Kodi full screen on Windows 10, and wants to retain Atmos and DTS:X audio when making MKV backups. We also recommend the Yamaha RX-V381 from Accessories4Less for an inexpensive AV Receiver. Mahi is trying to decide between the Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers RAAL, Revel Performa3 F208, and RBH SV-6500R. We weigh in, and also add the KEF R-Series and DALI Loudspeakers into the mix. And John M. gets the lowdown on Dolby AC-4 audio.

J asks whether Atmos speakers should aim straight down or at the listening position. Josh S. wants to know the best way to connect and configure a miniDSP to add a subwoofer to one of his whole house audio zones. And Nick B. experienced some networking problems and asks if a battery backup UPS might be a good countermeasure.

Jason S. wants to know what will happen if/when dynamic metadata gets added to HDR10. Infinite Gary gets our advice on acoustic panel placement in a kitchen setup. And Mark H. wants to maximize the acoustic performance in his small room, so we discuss absorption panel and bass trap placement, as well as Eclipse Absolute Zero Drapes and what to do with a skylight.

Michael R. gets our input on which locally available speakers to audition, plus a suggestion to try Axiom Audio. Kevin C. wants to hear more about PlayStation VR launch games. And Fab F. gets more advice about the complicated process of setting up dual subwoofers when ideal placement isn’t an option.

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AV Rant #508: Ted’s Gambit

October 21st, 2016 2 comments

PrintAmazing! We are awestruck by the outpouring of support from our MANY Listeners of the Week. Ya ready?

Terry G., Richard C., Nathan D., Brandon W., Peter M., Fabrizio F., Stefan B., Eric B., Mahidhar, Jay C., Pieter, Tom K., Ian, Karl R., Carl M., James D., James O., Joshua L., Frederick R., Antoine C., Bryon S., Jeffrey B., Miles W., Jayson W., Vincent H., John S., Lee V., Ilango, William C., Keith M., Wade E., Tom T., Sean M., Gabe M., Geoffrey D., Chad T., Matthew F., Gavin B., Jason S., and Ronald G. who also told A4L that his Marantz AV8802A purchase was thanks to AV Rant!

And a huge thank you to Ted M. who inspired all of these donations with his generous offer to match them dollar-for-dollar! This is far beyond our wildest expectations.

Our official YouTube Page – https://www.youtube.com/c/AVRant/ – features Tom as a logo for the entire podcast this week thanks to technical difficulties. We’re working on it!

Rob gives his first impressions of the PlayStation VR. And Infinite Gary sent us breaking news that Razer bought THX.

Tom K. says our advice to replace a pre-pro with an AV Receiver worked out well. Kris I. says a pair of SVS PC12-Plus subwoofers in a 10,000 cubic foot space is 80% satisfying. And Kevin N., our 500th Episode SVS Giveaway winner has received his SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 Speaker Package! Congrats!

Byron S. has a new house and a new dedicated theater room. We discuss screen sizes, seating distances, and speaker layout ideas. Bob wants to make sure Ascend Acoustics speakers that use RAAL ribbon tweeters can hit full Reference Volume, and we suggest the Ascend Pedestal Stands. And Infinite Gary asks if an acoustically reflective room benefits from speakers with narrow dispersion, how to tell what kind of dispersion a speaker will have, whether playing up to 40 kHz is useful, and what type of insulation we prefer for DIY absorption panels.

Bill C. is moving to a much larger house with an existing sound system. We suggest a Pro Amplifier to power the passive subwoofers, and a Distribution Amplifier to power his whole house audio system. Fab F. is disappointed after adding an SVS PC12-Plus to his PB-1000 in an open concept living room. We talk about placement and dual subwoofer considerations. And Terry G. gets our input on his updated theater plans. We discuss false walls, dual subs that are different brands, and Logitech Harmony Remotes vs. Control4.

Karl R. asks, is Apple’s Lightning headphone jack digital or analogue? Ken S. wants to know if AV Receivers need anything special to support Dolby Vision. And Fred R. is renovating his room to focus on the fireplace. We recommend Dynamic Mounting or MantelMount to put his flatscreen above it.

Nick B. wants to know how much louder four subs will be in a room vs. outdoors, and he also wants to know why Ascend Acoustics doesn’t show distortion measurements. Michael R. wants to swap his Tower Front speakers for Bookshelf speakers, but his choices are limited in Canada. And Casey P. wonders if he can repurpose an old Receiver as an amplifier for Atmos speakers.

Aidan has a left speaker channel problem that we are convinced is being caused by a bad speaker wire connection. Josh Pollard is upgrading his TV, and we think a 55-inch Vizio M-Series is the perfect choice. And Jim O. wants to know if Front Wide speakers are really a thing of the past.

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AV Rant #507: Good News

October 14th, 2016 No comments

PrintOur Listeners of the Week are Kris I. for his donation, Infinite Gary for letting Ascend Acoustics know that he heard about them from AV Rant, and Ted M. who is graciously offering to match all donations dollar-for-dollar this week from Oct. 10 – 17!

You can check out our videos on our official YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/AVRant/

Kevin N. is the winner of our 500th Episode SVS Giveaway! He chose the SVS 5.1 Prime Satellite speaker package, and he says it will be his first “real” speaker system. So we’re extremely happy for him! Congratulations, Kevin! And since he’d like suggestions for a new Receiver to go along with his new speakers, we think the Denon AVR-X2200W from Accessories4Less is a great choice.

In the news, the biggest surprise from Google’s press conference last week is the inclusion of Dolby Vision support for the 4K Chromecast Ultra. And SVS launched their new 16-Ultra Series Subwoofers.

Philip B. shared an article about Douglas Trumbull’s Magi and Magi Pods 4K 3D 120fps theater systems. And Partha S. let us know that Velodyne subwoofers ended up being the most affordable option in India.

Antoine B. asks if 5.1.4 Atmos is really worth it over 5.1.2, and he also asks about DIY absorption panel materials. Casey wants to know if he’ll hear a worthwhile difference when he upgrades his Polk Audio speakers. We also sort through Receiver models that can handle 7.2.4 Atmos and DTS:X. And we recommend some external amplifier options, including: Emotiva BasX A-500, Monoprice No Logo, Dayton APA100, and Monoprice Monolith. And Michael R. lives in Canada, and he wants a Bluetooth boombox. Tom recommends a Creative Roar model, and Rob recommends a JBL Charge 3. Michael would also like adjustable speaker stands for his Surrounds, so we recommend the Quest Telescopic TM100B or Dayton Audio SS-SAT stands. Lastly, we discuss speaker wire gauge for longer runs.

John M. asks about the light output capabilities of the Epson 5040UB HDR10 projector and just how many nits we’re actually aiming for with HDR projection. Matt G. wants to know if his Xbox One would be a better Blu-ray player than his standalone Sony player, and he also gets some of our suggestions for games that aren’t shooters, sports, or racing. “McMansion” Kris solved a crazy Denon Receiver troubleshooting problem by replacing it with a Marantz model, but we try to speculate about what might have caused his issues. And Moanis asks what he should choose if neutral gray wall paint is vetoed by the aesthetics committee.

John W. wants to include his 2-channel integrated amp in his system, so we suggest the connection path he should use. We also talk about cleaning tweeters, where an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Jon wants a slim Center speaker to either match his Klipsch Icon Towers or “force” him into upgrading all three Fronts. We suggest HSU Research, Revel On-Walls, GoldenEar SuperSats, and Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE. We also lament the discontinuation of HSU’s STF-2 subwoofer, but still recommend the HSU VTF-1 MK3 as a good match for Jon’s Klipsch subwoofer. We also talk a bit about bi-amping and up-firing Atmos-enabled speakers. And Josh S. wants to incorporate a subwoofer into one room of his whole house audio setup. We suggest using the built-in crossover capabilities of an SVS Plus Series or SVS Ultra Series subwoofer, or using a MiniDSP 2×4.

Rodney gets us to examine his theater plans. We go over speaker and subwoofer placement and options, and recommend Sonance or RBH Sound for in-ceiling speakers. Greg wants to know if a more powerful amplifier is worth it, and we can’t help but suggest that he opt for the KEF in-wall speakers that match his existing KEF Towers and Center. And Steve W. wants to know if it’s possible to put artwork on the back of a projection screen.

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AV Rant #506: Magnetic Wire BS

October 7th, 2016 No comments

PrintOur Listeners of the Week are: Joshua for his donation, Tyler S. for telling SVS he bought his new SB-2000 subwoofer based on our recommendation, Josh Z. for sending Rob H. a Dolby Atmos Demo disc to check out, and Heath B. for buying a Marantz SR7010 from Accessories4Less and letting them know he heard about them on AV Rant!

Remember to check out our new AV Rant Podcast YouTube Channel for the video versions of the show!

In the news: DTS is being sold to Tessera Technologies for $850 million. And Jonathan F. found an NRDC Report in which TV manufacturers are accused of cheating on energy consumption tests.

Ted M. thinks everyone should give Tidal Music Streaming a try, and he suggests using Soundiiz to port over Spotify playlists. And Greg F. shared a video showing a Kodi Media Center using a Raspberry Pi in a tiny arcade cabinet.

Jonathan S. is planning a large theater with a bar, and he wants high bang-for-buck gear. We practically beg him to get dual subwoofers, either SVS PC-2000 or Outlaw Audio Ultra-X12, and we suggest KEF, Focal, and Ascend Acoustics speakers to go behind his screen. We also discuss layout, absorption panel placement, and where to put his equipment rack. Kris P. says the Microsoft Edge Browser can pass Dolby Digital audio, and to make ourselves heard regarding the Xbox One’s audio issues at Xbox Uservoice. Kris wants a 5.4.4 Atmos setup, and a Denon AVR-X4200W or Marantz SR6010 are the cheapest options. And Donald G. wants to know if 5.2.2 Atmos is even worth it.

Karl L. needs help deciding between the Denon AVR-X4300H and AVR-X6300H. Heath shared a ridiculous review of “High Fidelity Cables” that claim to use “magnetic conduction” rather than electrical conduction (good grief). Dave P. is having some issues with his Optoma X600 projector, and he wants to know if balanced XLR connections are desirable. And Ted M. asks about amplifier classes, modular Receivers, whether to upgrade his audio or his video first, and whether the Epson LS10500 is worth paying twice as much just for lasers.

Gary F. wants some “no bull” talk about speaker wires and amplifiers, and we deliver. Charles S. has an HDR TV, but an older Receiver, which is thankfully something Ultra HD Blu-ray players can accommodate. And Steven V. is debating whether to wire every room in a distributed audio system in stereo or mono.

Carlos R. has a huge space that he wants to pressurize with bass. We suggest 2x dual (quad) HSU Research VTF-15H MK2 as the flexible, affordable starting point, with the option to consider more expensive alternatives beyond those. Bill might benefit from an external amplifier, but we see no need to spend more than $500 on the Emotiva BasX A-500. We also discuss Bill’s projection screen height and Center speaker placement and tilt. And Partha S. is looking for subwoofers in India. We’re rather ignorant on that front, but Acoustic Arts carries Velodyne and SVS, and Cinebels carries Jamo and Klipsch, so those seem like decent places to start.

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AV Rant #505: Creative iRoar Bluetooth Speaker Review

September 30th, 2016 No comments

AV Rant 500th_1000pxOur Listeners of the Week are Jonathan S. Ilango, Dave, and Alan for their generous donations! Ted M. also wants to match all donations dollar-for-dollar during a week of our choosing, so we will be talking that up over the next couple of episodes!

Tom reviews the Creative iRoar Bluetooth speaker that seems to live up to its name.

Remember to check out our new AV Rant Podcast YouTube Channel for the video versions of the show!

In the news, Dolby Vision support on the Oppo UDP-203 is still up in the air. Andy alerted us to the Monoprice Monolith 15-inch subwoofer shown at CEDIA. Sony Pictures and Auro-3D will release 10 movies. Roku’s five new models range in price from $30 to $130. Canadian streaming service shomi is shutting down Nov. 30. And the SVS Prime Elevation speakers finally arrive!

Philip B. found instructions for modifying capacitors with wax and wood, just in case you needed more evidence that some audiophiles are insane.

Mat A. is planning his new theater. We discuss speaker placement, screen size, and seating distance. John M. asks whether the carpet itself or the pad underneath matters more when it comes to acoustics, so we recommend a felt carpet pad. Karl R. asks for our opinions on the BenQ W8000 projector, which seems to go by the model number HT6050 in North America, and its most compelling features are its interchangeable lenses. And Greg P. tracked down a crackling noise problem in his system to his ethernet over powerline adapter, and he wants to know what was going on.

Ted M. has new Legacy Audio speakers on the way, and he wants to know if he should try to repurpose his old speakers. We also go over the relationship between Watts and speaker output. Jonathan F. read the Audioholics Paradigm Persona Series review and wants to know if beryllium is truly so special.

And Josh L. is planning a theater that must also double as a guest room. We go over dimensions, layout, and screen choices such as the 70-inch Vizio M-Series.

Mahi wants a 7.2.6 setup if he can get it. He could add Boston Acoustics in-wall speakers to his existing gear, or get all new Aperion Audio Intimus speakers and Aperion in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. We also discuss his seating distances and suggest a 135-inch acoustically transparent screen from Silver Ticket or Seymour AV. Matt G. got a deal on an Xbox One, and he wants to know if he should’ve bought an Xbox One S instead, and what his audio output settings should be. And Jeff G. wants a bigger CinemaScope screen. We mention Elite Screens Dual Screen and Seymour AV Masking options. And also discuss placement of four subwoofers.

Chris S. built a cardboard box model of his new speakers (yay!) and realized he needs new speaker stands. We suggest Sanus, VideoSecu, or Quest. Muzammil (we are so sorry for surely mispronouncing your name!) wants a “wall of sound”, and we think his Yamaha Receiver’s DSP listening modes can help. And Danny J. wants to know what would be worthwhile about adding a streaming box if you already own a Smart TV.

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